Species II

1/2*

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the movie theater, there, lurking in the corners, leaps out a stupefyingly horrid sequel to 1995's sci-fi misfire, Species.

Those rascally scientists, not having learned their lesson from the first movie, have recreated Sil...now called Eve (Natasha Henstridge). Under the supervision of Dr. Laura Baker (Marg Helgenberger), this new Eve is calmer and more sedate, but is used as a lab rat to research weapons against future Species-alien attacks.

That disaster scenario is coming true sooner than some have anticipated. The first manned mission to Mars is underway, with a crew including Justin Lazard and Mykelti Williamson. The Martian soil samples they retrieve contain more than dirt...they contain Species DNA samples. When the crew returns, all three may have been infected and are potentially hazardous to their mates. Luckily, NASA has established a 10-day sexual quarantine for interplanetary flights (no, really!).

From there, it all goes downhill (which, since it is one of the opening scenes, is no small trick). Soon, multiple alien sexual predators are on the loose again, each trying to mate to produce the "perfect" offspring. Now that's one thing that I just don't quite understand about this movie. Why would this creature, which now has the ability to assimilate people with merely a few strands of its DNA, need to bother with creating a "perfect" offspring. (Disregarding the fact that the offspring of two hybrids wouldn't necessarily be "pure"). One would think that the creature should just wander around the countryside bleeding. Its pools of blood are apparently sentient, and if they can't kill humanity...they should be able to merge with it in no time.

But that would assume the movie was trying to make sense. No, this is the movie that has people thinking things like, "Hmm...a crawling pool of blood...I think I'll walk over and touch it..." The film touts its own stupidity and scientific ignorance as if it were a badge of honor (even though I don't think the film's even smart enough to know what a badge is.)

No...the heart of Species and its sequel is: alien sex. Rather than present us with the ultimate femme fatale, as in the original, the sequel instead delivers a series of literally explosive pregnancies. (A strange thing though: all the resulting offspring mysteriously acquire identical grey shirts as their only form of clothing. Maybe it's another mutation...but then, I'm thinking again. Bad reviewer! Bad reviewer!). The film is chock full of nudity (both human and alien), sex and gore. Heck, if that turns you on...more power to ya.

But don't go in expecting any great sci-fi action scenes. (Or even tepid ones like the original). No, the brainless attitude of the film destroys any sense of suspense even quicker than your credulity evaporates.

One thing we can, unfortunately, expect is yet another sequel. Like most horror films, this one leaves the door wide open. In fact, it fails to resolve a central point to do so. Gone are the days of the faint rasp of facehuggers crawling after the credits in Aliens...these days the filmmakers don't care about subtlety, or even resolving the plot... At least they didn't stoop as low as the mutant rat in the first film (a thread which, thankfully, is never followed upon).

As Marg Helgenberger utters after witnessing a spectacularly gory corpse: "This is awful...just awful." I couldn't have said it better.

[R - strong sexuality, sci-fi violence/gore and language] (MGM)


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